SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Poaching is a big issue for the state. Since August the Division of Wildlife Resources has more than 100 big game cases its officers are investigating. 

At the beginning of November, officers say a trophy buck was illegally shot and left for dead in just east of Holden in Millard County. 

Lieutenant Wyatt Bubak with DWR says if caught illegally hunting a big buck, “the recommended restitution for a trophy buck is $8,000.”

Officials are still looking for the animal killer in that case.

DWR officers say most of their poaching issues come down to hunters not knowing their boundaries. 

“Say that a unit has a thousand tags, if people start, from other units, start hunting a unit they don’t have a tag for, harvesting deer off a unit they don’t have a tag for, that can have detrimental effects on the herd because those are deer being taken biologist haven’t accounted for,” said Lt Bubak.

In 2019, 80 hunters had their licenses suspended. It’s close to the 84 hunters who had their licenses taken away in 2018.

“For a hunter that is experienced to any degree to not have that information or not be willing to look it up is just negligent for the most part on their end,” he said. “Because we do a great job at making this stuff available.”

On November 1st, 2018, DWR officers say Mitch Peterson illegally shot a big buck and charged with him Wanton Destruction of Protected Wildlife. 

Peterson stating on Instagram, “My 2018 General extended archery buck a dream come true.”

DWR officials state in court documents the deer was seen and photographed living in an area outside the extended archery area. 

A search warrant revealed Peterson took officers to two locations, one he allegedly shot the deer, and another where he allegedly moved the deer to be gutted. It’s the same area officers say was illegal to hunt in.  

ABC4 News Jason Nguyen, spoke with Peterson’s lawyer Jordan Haycock who says this is a boundary dispute and they plan to prove it in court. Peterson’s next court date is December 10th.